On-site health care helps save resident’s life at Avondale

By LANCE CRANMER                                           lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

DUBLIN, Ohio — Offering health care options inside senior apartment homes facilities is an attractive amenity when looking for a retirement community.

Sometimes, though, having a health care provider on-site can not only enrich lives, but save them as well.

Julie Sofranko is the Care Coordinator at National Church Residences Avondale, a senior apartment homes community in Dublin, Ohio, that offers access to skilled nursing, rehabilitative therapies and a full range of Home and Community Services.

For Julie, a registered nurse with a background in public health, knowing her residents and providing them general health care services is her daily responsibility.

“(Avondale) is a unique property,” she said. “I’m hoping we continue to expand health care services here. I really believe it is what’s going to keep people healthy.”

As part of her job at Avondale, Julie conducts several wellness sessions and health screenings for her residents to help them stay on top of their own personal wellbeing.

“With the seniors it’s blood pressure and hypertension, heart disease, lung disease … anybody who identifies these disorders, we’re giving them information to try to help them understand what’s going on with their bodies. We are giving them enough knowledge and education that they want to step up and take personal responsibility,” she said. “When we do wellness sessions here, they all show up. I’ll have 40 or 50 people in a room when we do wellness instruction and education. That’s half my population.”

During these health education programs, Julie is frequently joined by Chris Brown, a Nurse Liaison with National Church Residences Home and Community Services.

“Julie and I focus many of our monthly wellness and educational programs around the promotion of wellness as well as chronic disease management in order to help keep these residents as healthy as possible,” Chris said. “Having a nurse on-site is a wonderful benefit for Avondale residents.”

Earlier this summer, an interaction Julie and Chris had with a resident during one of these sessions helped save the resident’s life.

“I have a resident that is 79-years-old. I was leading an activity session and she just didn’t look right. I said, ‘You look tired today.’ I looked at her and saw her ankles were swollen,” Julie said. “She said, ‘I’ve gained 30 pounds and I can’t figure out how I did it. My belly and ankles are swollen, I’m very tired and I can’t breathe.’”

Julie and Chris quickly ran some tests on the resident and found some serious problems.

“When we checked her oxygen saturation it was very low,” Chris said. “Both Julie and I recognized these signs as possible congestive heart failure.”

Normal blood saturation is 95-to-100. Tests showed that the resident’s was dangerously low at 81.

Paramedics were called and the resident was admitted into the hospital, where she stayed for several days.

“She went right into intensive care from the ER,” Julie said. “They told her if she had gone to sleep that night, she would not have woken up.”

Now, weeks later, the resident is back home at Avondale and her condition is being monitored regularly.

“She is home now, doing well and her congestive heart failure is being controlled with medication and lifestyle changes,” said Chris. “Julie will continue to monitor this resident through Care Guide, and we will hopefully prevent future hospitalizations through education and early recognition of symptoms.”

Multiple National Church Residences sites in Ohio and Florida offer on-site health care at senior apartment homes facilities, with an eye on expansion into other markets in the future.

“That little incident was evidence of how important it is to have health care present so you can identify concerns right away and get them addressed,” Julie said. “We saved her life that day.”

(Cranmer is the Media/Public Relations Specialist for National Church Residences. Do you have a great story to tell? Contact Lance at lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org)

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